Amazon Protects User Privacy in North Carolina

Slashdot links to a CNet article by Declan McCullagh demonstrating Amazon’s willingness to defend customer privacy. I’d be a bit more impressed if, like Google and Yahoo, the retail giant was defending its customers from a law enforcement demand but that is not the case.

Amazon filed a suit against the state of North Carolina in response to the state’s tax service requesting personal information on purchases shipped into the state. Amazon had already provided anonymized data but balked at the further reach. There is strong legacy precedent for the protection of book purchases and video rentals, Amazon’s suit should hopefully prove well founded. A favorable ruling could do much to shore up online privacy protections.

McCullagh implies that the suit may be tinged by a slight vindictive streak. Amazon made the news last year for ending its affiliate program in the state when a new law was enacted that would have forced the company to start collecting sales tax there.

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